New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) ‘Didigiri’ appears set to shatter the ‘dadagiri’ of the Red bosses after the battering they got from Cyclone Mamata in the West Bengal civic polls. The buzz is that CPI-M top man Prakash Karat is seriously thinking of handing over the baton to Sitaram Yechury.
Party insiders say although he still enjoys the full backing of the party’s Kerala state committee, West Bengal leaders are not happy with him for severing all ties with the Congress over the India-US nuclear deal. Unlike Karat’s Stalinist hardline, Yechury’s pragmatism is seen widely as his plus point. They believe the party could re-build a bridge with the Congress under Yechury’s leadership.
A section in the party believes a change in the CPI-M leadership may take place later this year before the assembly polls in West Bengal and Kerala next year.
Newsmakers in Shanghai!
Presidential visits have a knack for making news for all the wrong reasons. And so it was when two Indian journalists from prominent TV channels got into a drunken brawl in Shanghai during President Pratibha Patil’s visit to China.
The news spread like ‘wildfire’, the delegates travelling with the president got to know about it within minutes. For the Indian embassy, it was most embarrassing, as it was made clear to everyone, including the scribes, that the Chinese regard drunkenness with extreme distaste.
‘If it had been some official in the president’s delegation, the media would have flashed it as breaking news,’ said one senior official.
Zuma’s ode to Indian food
‘Time is the biggest enemy to what we want to achieve here in India,’ South African President Jacob Zuma told the captains of Indian industry. ‘Especially for eating!’ he added after a pause, triggering ripples of laughter across the Durbar hall in Taj Palace hotel.
‘Those who are not from Durban, it is too much… But for those from Durban, with the hot curry, we feel at home,’ he said.
Zuma, a fan of Hindi films, also expressed his love for things Indian during a press appearance with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. ‘I enjoyed the music and the food. We are at home in India,’ said Zuma, adding he and his delegation did not feel like leaving.
Zuma’s hometown is Durban, the third largest South African city, which also hosts the country’s largest Indian population.
Scandal back home
While South African President Jacob Zuma’s state visit here received a fairly good press in India, back home, it was overshadowed by a scandal involving his second wife Nompumelelo Ntuli who had accompanied him on the trip.
Newspapers in South Africa carried reports of alleged improprieties by First Lady Ntuli, as noted in an anonymous letter faxed to media houses. This led the President’s Office to issue a terse denial Friday, saying the reports were part of an ‘ongoing and malicious campaign to undermine the right of the president and his family to privacy and dignity’.
‘He will not dignify such gossip with a response,’ said the note.
What’s between Congress, Paswan?
Guess what comes between the Congress and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan? The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad.
The Congress is not likely to support any candidate in the ensuing elections to the Rajya Sabha from the state. And Paswan is doing exactly that with RJD’s help.
The Congress has 10 MLAs in the state and state leaders say a directive will be issued to party MLAs to abstain from voting. State Congress leaders are up against any tie-up with the RJD – they even prevailed upon central leaders against any attempts at government formation in Jharkhand with Lalu Prasad’s RJD.
But if Paswan distances himself from Lalu after getting elected to the Rajya Sabha, there is always the possibility of a tie-up, say Congress leaders.
Jairam misses Environment Day function
Guess who missed the World Environment Day function at Vigyan Bhavan Saturday? Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Ramesh could not make it to the ceremony as he was in Andhra Pradesh with work related to his Rajya Sabha nomination. While invitation cards read that Ramesh would preside over the function, the ministry asked Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed to take over at the last moment.
‘I am here as a substitute for the un-substitutable Jairam Ramesh,’ said Khursheed who read out a record of work done by the environment ministry in past year.
Tytler’s unending woes
Nothing seems to be working out for Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, the man who until recently was supposed to shepherd the Congress’ comeback trail in poll-bound Bihar.
Barely a year after he was given a chance to rehabilitate himself – having been denied a Lok Sabha ticket in the wake of fierce opposition to his candidature by Sikh groups – he is once again in the wilderness.
The party central leadership removed him as incharge of the state earlier this week for his apparent failure to check factionalism in the state party unit. The story goes that Tytler developed differences with his protege Anil Kumar Sharma, who too was removed last week as the party’s Bihar unit president.
Tech savvy Bollywood divas
Who says technology is a thing for the guys? Bollywood divas are slowly taking over that domain. While Bipasha Basu appeared in a trimmer-than-ever avatar to endorse a cellphone company and tomtommed her soon-to-join micro blogging site Twitter, another diva Neha Dhupia beat the likes of willow wielder VVS Laxman in an online gaming competition.
Another beauty Priyanka Chopra, a regular at Twitter, couldn’t help but go gaga over her inseparable association with her new prized possession – the Apple iPad. Well if these maidens are set to conquer the wired world, how do boys have all the fun?